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Turkey Lesson

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I had a chance to try a new pond on a Thursday evening while my wife was busy. This is one that I had to hike about a half a mile to get into. It has two gullies in the field I have to cross.

Both are about five feet deep. This would make it hard to drive into or take my canoe into.

I got to the pond at about 7:15 in the evening. I knew I had about a hour or so to fish before it would start getting dark. I had two rods with me, one with a floating fly and the other with a subsurface fly. I decided to cast the floating fly out and let it sit. I put the rod between my knees and then cast the other fly, a Skip Morris Panfish in black and red, out. The second fly had moved about one foot when it was smacked. It was a fairly nice bluegill that cut several patterns in the water before coming in. I cast again about five feet from where the first cast went and had another gill hit the fly just after it entered the water. As I was bringing this fish in another fish hit the surface fly. What a circus to try to land two fish on two different rods at the same time. I did manage to get both of them in. Both were nice fat gills.

I cast the floating fly, a beetle, out. As I started to cast the other fly the beetle was sucked under.

When I sat the hook I found that this time a bass had taken the fly. When I got her in she was about 15 inches long. This was great fun on a 3 wt. rod. She had jumped a few times so I figured that everything in that area was spooked.

I moved down the shore, about 30 feet, and cast both flies out again. The SMP had barely hit the water when another gill sucked it in. Great fun to have them cut around and swim in circles as they come in. The next cast resulted in another gill but this one hit when the fly was about ten feet from shore.

At this point the land owner showed up. He had wanted to find out if the pond had any fish in it.

He also wanted to know if it would be okey to harvest fish out of it. I told him what I had been catching. As if on cue a gill hit the beetle. I sat the hook and then handed the rod to him. I let him bring this gill in.

He was hooked. I cast the SMP out and showed him how to retrieve the fly. I then cast it again and handed him the rod. The gills were happy to cooperate and he caught about a dozen.

At this point I saw some movement across the pond. There were about 50 turkeys coming down the hill to the pond. They were bobbing around a lot and we could not figure out what they were doing. We were having so much fun watching them that we were not fishing.

As the turkeys got closer to the pond we began to see the grasshoppers that were flying in front of them. The turkeys were feeding on these grasshoppers. As they got closer to the pond some of the grasshoppers flew out over the pond and landed on the water. When they got about forty feet from the shore the water began to boil. Those hoppers never had a chance.

There must have been a hundred hoppers that flew out and landed on the pond. Every one of them was smashed. Fish were coming out of the water and hitting the hoppers on the way down.

Of course, during the whole time this was happening I was watching and not fishing.

When the turkeys got to the edge of the pond they turned and started circling the pond. We stayed still and quiet to see how close they would get to us. We watched until they got about forty feet from us. At that point something bothered one of them and he spooked. Some of them ran and some flew but it was fun to watch them do that.

I did see that ten of these turkeys had various amounts of white stripping on their feathers. I asked the land owner if anyone hunted these birds. He said that he let a few folks, but they had to be ones that he trusted. I told him that if they got one of those turkeys with the white feathers I would love to have the tail and some body feathers. He said that he would see what could be done.

By now it was starting to get dark so we headed out. He told me that he was going to build another gate to make access to the pond from another field. All I would have to do is take him out and let him use a fly rod with a hopper pattern on it. We should be able to do that in about two weeks.

A very fun evening. Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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